Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 15, 2023

“Fine, let them sue us” but real

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:54 am

It’s not Alameda specific but it is newsworthy. By now you should have heard that local guy and Attorney General of California Rob Bonta announced that the State of California was going to be suing the City of Huntington Beach which decided to take the path of thumbing their noses at the State over the whole Housing Element and compliance with state law. This is the position that some City Council members wanted to take as well with a “fine, let them sue us” dismissiveness. Maybe he thought the State wasn’t serious but, it is. From an LA Times editorial:

California has a crippling housing shortage that has driven up home prices and rents, fueled homelessness and pushed residents and business out of the state. And yet the city’s leaders somehow think their wealthy Orange County coastal enclave should be exempt from producing its fair share of homes.

Of course the city shouldn’t be exempt. It’s welcome news that Gov. Gavin Newsom and Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta sued Huntington Beach for violating state housing laws. The lawsuit should be a warning to other communities: California is cracking down on cities that try to evade new laws aimed at encouraging homebuilding.

Despite numerous warnings from state officials, the Huntington Beach City Council recently voted to refuse applications to build accessory dwelling units or duplexes in single-family zones, banning projects that are legal under state law.

The council is also planning to ignore applications filed under the “builders remedy,” a provision of state law that says housing developers can ignore local zoning and propose whatever they want in cities that have failed to write a housing plan that meets state requirements. Builders remedy projects just need to ensure 20% of the units are affordable. Huntington Beach — no surprise — does not have a compliant housing plan.

The piece goes on to explain some of the really egregious examples from some cities to try to skirt the requirements:

The beach city’s leaders seem more interested in preserving some idealized vision of suburbia than helping people who live and work in Huntington Beach and want more housing options. People such as Ty Youngblood, who planned to build an accessory dwelling unit at his 80-year-old mother’s house so his family could live with and take care of her. After paying for engineering and architectural plans, Youngblood said, his project is now blocked.

Though Huntington Beach is the most openly resistant to complying with state housing laws, there are other galling examples of cities trying to get around their obligations. Officials in Sausalito proposed putting new housing on sites that are underwater. Woodside leaders, infamously, tried to declare the tony Bay Area community a mountain lion sanctuary to thwart duplex developments. And in La Cañada Flintridge, a pastor agreed to list her church as an “imaginary” site where affordable housing could be built so the city could claim its housing plan was in compliance with state rules.


  1. You left out the part where 280 California cities are “out of compliance,” HB is a charter city with different rules, and the State Auditor issued a report that the RHNA process setting the housing allocation numbers were inflated. This could result in 900,000 unit overcount.

    Bonta has already lost a lot of cases trying to defend Ca. law. This will be interesting one.

    Comment by Surf City here we come — March 15, 2023 @ 7:53 am

    • The state auditor did a terrific job found important deficiencies in the process for creating the goals. They didn’t extrapolate like you did. That is violating a fundamental audit rule, to extrapolate from a small sample. Too often, implementing better processes has exactly the opposite result than the sample errors imply.

      The report can be found here.

      Comment by audit — March 15, 2023 @ 8:31 am

  2. Comment by James Bomb — March 15, 2023 @ 8:40 am

    • I’m sure Chuck and Flav would be perfectly OK with you using their Black liberation anthem to celebrate NIMBYs fighting for exclusionary housing!

      Comment by Rod — March 15, 2023 @ 8:51 am

      • You missed the point of the song.

        Ironic that you now identify with “the power” which just bailed out a bank where 50% of the startups they funded are Chinese, saved three large business accounts belonging to Gavin Newsom and other multi-millionaires and whose chairman sits on the board of a company run by Newsom’s wife in a state where three families and one party have controlled the state for the last 40 years.

        Comment by SMH — March 15, 2023 @ 11:09 am

        • 50% of the startups they funded are Chinese

          lol. This is literally crazy town shit right here. But good job resurrecting yellow peril bullshit.

          Comment by Lauren Do — March 15, 2023 @ 11:10 am

        • Also, try listening to the song if you’re telling other people that they “missed the point”.

          “The power” is not people who are oppressing a rich, white community who is trying to keep people out of it. The rich, white community who also decided to stop flying the pride flag would be “the power” in any scenario but you tried.

          Comment by Lauren Do — March 15, 2023 @ 11:16 am

        • Thanks for whitesplaining Public Enemy to me!

          Comment by Rod — March 15, 2023 @ 12:03 pm

        • Chinese investors/startups first to panic. Reported by both CNN and MSNBC. I guess they’re racist too.

          Comment by SMH — March 15, 2023 @ 12:26 pm

        • Deukmejian, Wilson and The Terminator were governors for 24 of those 40 years. All Republicans.

          Comment by Larry Witte — March 15, 2023 @ 2:12 pm

        • Chinese investors/startups first to panic. Reported by both CNN and MSNBC. I guess they’re racist too.

          You’re really bad at news aren’t you?

          Comment by Lauren Do — March 15, 2023 @ 2:52 pm

  3. Good news. This makes me particularly proud to be an Alamedan today.

    Comment by bjsvec — March 15, 2023 @ 9:27 am

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